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Fri, 24 Oct 2014

Jega: INEC will Give Nigeria Best Elections in 2015


The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Attahiru Jega, has assured Nigerians that in spite of the security challenges in some parts of the country, the nation would get its best election ever in 2015.

 
The INEC boss, who was the guest lecturer at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA) monthly lecture titled: ‘Values, Electoral Systems and the Importance of Successful Elections in Nigeria’s Foreign Policy,’ on Thursday, said democracy had been an enduring value pursued by Nigeria in its foreign policy and that INEC was working tirelessly to consolidate and stabilise democratic rule at home.
 
“Nigeria has made appreciable progress in the quality of elections and election management since 2011 elections. As a commission, we give assurances that preparations by INEC for the 2015 general election are proceeding in earnest.
 
“Learning from the experiences of 2011, especially regarding the need for early preparations, the commission has undertaken the task of fundamental restructuring of its bureaucracy, established new policies to guide its work and embarked on far-reaching planning of its operations through a Strategic plan, an electoral project plan and an election management system and all these are being vigorously implemented,” he explained.
 
According to Jega, INEC is prepared to conduct elections in the three northern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe which are currently under emergency rule, with the advice of security agencies.
 
“We believe we are ready and capable to do election in any part of this country but it will depend on the advice of the security agencies. For instance, in Adamawa, we went and were ready to deploy. I was there on Wednesday. We were ready for the election before the judgement came,” he said.
 
While he underscored the security challenges facing Nigeria as one of the factors that might affect the coming elections,  Jega said even where the 2011 elections were adjudged the best elections ever conducted in the country,  measures had been taken to bring about drastic improvements in the coming elections.
 
Some of such steps according to him are; the new biometric register of voters, the re-modified open ballot system, improved security features on sensitive electoral materials,  revised framework for engagement of ad hoc staff, more transparent framework for result collation and returns, open and transparent procedures,  modalities and processes on election day, closer collaboration and partnerships with critical stakeholders,  enhanced voters education, intensified training and retraining of INEC staff and the creation of inter-agency consultative committee on election security.
 
“We have come to learn that there is no alternative to planning and preparing adequately. One of my best anecdotes on organising the 2011 elections was that in the registration of voters for the election, the DDC machines used in the exercise would have formed a chain over 80 kilometres long if placed end to end. At the same time, the over 400,000 staff used in the exercise out numbered the collective strength of the entire armed forces of the West Africa sub-region. But for the 2015 elections, we plan to deploy even more staff.
 
He bemoaned the do-or-die attitude of the Nigerian politicians, promising that with an improved activity of INEC, the country will continue to see reduction in the number of litigations that follow electoral processes in the country.
 
The chairman of the event, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi, former Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Chief Emeka Anyaoku, former Nigerian Ambassador to the US, Prof, George Obiozor and the incumbent Director-General of NIIA, Prof. Bola Akinterinwa commended the improvements in the electoral system.
 
Obiozor, however, enjoined Jega to drop the creation of additional polling units as a way to preserve his integrity.

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Disclaimer: Content is the Opinion of the Author and is not in anyway representative of the Opinions of the Nigerian Election Coalition, WANGONeT, or the MacArthur Foundation except otherwise stated.

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